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My Quirky & Informative Spin on Cholesterol

Thursday, August 31, 2017

I know, it is never a good sign to start with a disclaimer, but given my current dismal scores on Spark Trivia, it is only fair to forewarn you that sometimes knowledge and I are not the good buddies I like to think we are.

First, let’s establish that one of my dad’s favorite phrases was “Julia, you have your head up your…ahem”. Just thought I should throw that out there so you know what you are dealing with. (*See note at end of blog.)

Second, I am not a medical professional in any way shape or form. I urge you to do your own research that will either verify or completely blow this blog out of the water. (Am I the only one that thinks of fishing with demolition explosives when I hear this phrase?) Discuss any changes, thoughts, concerns with your doctor. They know your health best.

Are you ready to have your whole world shift a little to the left? Are you ready to discuss the oh so exciting world of Cholesterol and Heart Disease and how everything you thought about it is probably wrong? (Insert some really cool and groovy theme music here. I Googled “Groovy Music” and Isaac Hayes theme from Shaft came up. We are gonna go with that.)

According to the American Heart Association, “Cholesterol is a waxy substance. It’s not bad: your body needs it to build cells. Too much can be a problem.” If you have read my profile, you know my cholesterol was high. Not like a gazillion, but still elevated. So when I went to my cardiologist, I was ready to give up eggs, and fats, and anything else that might contribute to high cholesterol, like cleaning the bathrooms. (Don’t you dare tell me cleaning doesn’t increase your cholesterol.)

Wait for the pin to drop. Her response, “We are finding cholesterol doesn’t play as big a role in heart disease as we thought. Genetics and sodium are key factors.” She then told me it is okay to eat eggs.

With an additional test ordered, she sent me on my way. So being me, the self-proclaimed Google Queen, I went home and researched. Here is what I found out: You have a greater chance of having a heart attack with normal cholesterol. 75% of the people that have heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels. Don’t get too excited and ditch your cholesterol meds just yet. Also note, my doctor said “AS BIG A ROLE”. It is still a factor, so this isn’t a free ticket to eat a whole pizza, followed by a greasy burger, fries, all topped off with a large slice of cheesecake.

Then I researched eggs. Remember the lowly egg? Remember how we were told it was the incredible edible egg? Then we were told it was the horrible, no good, very bad egg? Wait, it changed. Egg whites were okay, but the yolks were bad. So we were told to buy overly processed egg products in a carton. (I won’t judge you if you buy them.) But then we were told the yolks held all the nutrition. Confusing, right? Let me help clear up the confusion by sharing this link about eggs. It will take less than a minute. I will wait.

Did you check it out? Did it blow your mind? Or are you getting those high scores on Spark Trivia so you knew all this? (If you didn’t view it, and you are reading on, I am so disappointed in you, but you are still a good person and I still love you.)

So about that test she ordered. It is called “Lipoprotein (A)”. Like your cholesterol numbers, it gives one more piece to the puzzle. When your doctor orders blood work, be sure to ask them to run this test. (Ask for a Hepatitis C test too. Totally unrelated, but important.) Lipoprotein A determines how likely you are to have a heart attack based on your genetics. This is what The University Health News says about Lp(a):

“Some people are genetically predisposed to have a lot of lipoprotein(a) and others very little. Because of this, Lp(a) levels can vary greatly from person to person. Unlike other total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides, Lp(a) levels are not influenced by diet, exercise, fat loss, weight loss, stress, or other environmental or lifestyle factors. The one exception to this may be inflammation. Inflammation seems to make Lp(a) an even more potent cause of plaque build-up, so living a more “anti-inflammatory” lifestyle may decrease the risk of Lp(a).”

Here are my results: Lipoprotein (A) 19.0 mg/dL

Here’s how Lp(a) levels are looked at in terms of risk:
Desirable: Less than14 mg/dL
Borderline risk: 14 – 30 mg/dL
High risk: 31 – 50 mg/dL
Very high risk: 50+ mg/dL

So my advice as a non-medical professional:

emoticon Eat real food, including a moderate amount of healthy fats
emoticon Drink Water
emoticon Get restorative sleep
emoticon Practice healthy movement
emoticon Manage Stress
emoticon Visit your doctor regularly

So are you excited now about Cholesterol and Heart Attack information? I hope I made it interesting and informative for you. If nothing else, maybe I gave you a chuckle.

Trivia Sparkers: Beware. Next month is going to be my month!

Until next time. Be Safe. Be Strong. Be Healthy. Keep Sparking!

(*In response to BarbaraJ73's comment: Yes, he did. It was the navy in him. We were a pretty irreverent at times. It was always said with love and laughter. He used to say it about himself, and I would tell him he should perform his own colonoscopy while he was at it. He would just roll his eyes. If I ever say I wonder where my boys get it from, you know where.)

***Pictures from Pixabay and Public Domain***
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Yes, I read the article. Thanks so much for sharing. Good information there. Feeling good about an egg for breakfast.
    1278 days ago
    Thanks for the info. I will ask for the test in the future.
    1314 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this information. My doctor has scheduled me for a round of blood work, so I'll see how this plays into everything.

    1314 days ago
    Great Blog Julia!!!
    1316 days ago
    I love eggs and enjoy every bite when I eat them!

    A great blog! Thanks for sharing!
    1317 days ago
    Great post. Yes, people say we shouldn't question science, but even science questions science. Love the " no goodm very bad,,, horrible" reference (such a great kiddie book, but I digress.. Eggs bad, no eggs good, no bad now very good-whole egg good. Milk was the cat's pajamas and now we are learning cow's milk may not be so good in many ways and the milk industry may be full of baloney. We still don't know what the deal is with coconut oil. I could go on and on. I think your list is spot on. It really is as simple as sticking to whole foods (especially lots of veggies), get regular exercise, etc. We need healthy moderation yada yada. I remember in my early 20s picking iddy biddy pieces of avocado out of California rolls so avoid the fat back when we thought fat was bad. Now when I see avocados on sale you'd think I won the lottery.
    1317 days ago
    This is why I laughed so hard at the "Laugh or Die" skit with the time traveling dietition..... If they were wrong back in the day, who knows when they are wrong NOW?
    1318 days ago
    Thanks for all the info! I also love my eggs! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1318 days ago
    Great blog. That explains my father in law with cholesterol number literally off the charts but no heart disease. Last birthday was 98 years young!
    1318 days ago
    I love my eggs! emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Thanks for the information sparkly friend!

    1318 days ago

    Great blog and important information with a great sense of humor! You dad must have been very special to share his sense of humor with you.

    emoticon and emoticon
    1318 days ago
  • _LINDA
    emoticon for all the effort you put into this. I too was getting sick of the waffling back and forth of this is good for then its bad for you. The food guides are taking a while to catch up on what you really should be eating and all those grains are not it. Number one thing to totally eliminate is all sugar including artificial sweeteners. Sugar feeds cancer. I have read you need a base line of 2300 mg of salt to meet your basic functional needs. Because I was eating whole foods, nothing processed, my salt was even lower than Sparks recommended.
    I have been eating an organic egg a day while at Mom's. Enjoy them, was a treat. But I will have to get back to my vegan diet when I get home again. Although Dr.'s who think vegan diets heal are in the minority. The keto folks rule in this.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1318 days ago
    Now I know where you get your sense of humor!!
    1318 days ago
    I am so glad to know that EGGS are NOT the dangerous food once reported to us. I love eggs and eat them about 3 times/week. They are a wonderful source of protein and if I eat them for breakfast, I feel full for the entire morning.

    Thank You for your interesting and informative report on Cholesterol. You always make life more interesting.

    1319 days ago
  • no profile photo CD17989942
    Over the years I have heard so many this is bad for you stories...then a few years later - it can be the complete opposite...can make one really confused and wonder what to your style of writing !!! Take care, Kim
    1319 days ago
    Great way of thinking, and I ❤️ the humorous way of sharing this info with us. I've heard that many cardiologists and other health care professionals are looking at research and are changing their way of thinking about a lot of tthe previous beliefs in regards to the heart and cholesterol. Years ago, my husband's cardiologist had a fit when he heard that he had been on the Low Carb Atkins Diet, and he was eating the forbidden eggs, cheese, and other forms of high cholesterol foods. That was until he saw how low his cholesterol had dropped and found he had also lost forty pounds. All of his vitals were excellent. Years later, at a recent visit, my DH was told pretty much the same thing as you were. Now, we're learning that sugar, stress, and inflammation are the new culprits. Like you, I don't endorse any diet and highly recommend people discuss their health with their doctor and make their own educated decisions regarding what is right for them. As for me, I'm for exercise, eating in moderation, stress reduction, and the right amount of sleep, and my doctor is in agreement. Now, if anyone can tell me how to make all this happen, I'm interested. By the way, we're no longer eating low carb, and it shows. Being a carboholic, I don't know when to stop when a pan of brownies is put in front of me. My brain thinks it's when the pan is empty. I'm trying to follow all of the helpful suggestions from Spark, and as for my husband....well, if he put on a Fitbit, it would probably notify the rescue squad for fear that something was seriously wrong because their would be no movement. A body in motion stays in motion, and a body at rest, stays at rest. His resting body has gained way more pounds than it should. Hoping the changes I'm making will motivate him,
    1319 days ago
    I spy a reference to one of my favourite books: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day. emoticon
    by Judith Voist.

    Great blog, and WOOHOO I can continue eating eggs.

    I'm an expert at Eggs Benedict!
    1319 days ago
    Very interesting, thank you emoticon
    1319 days ago
    Something else that needs to be mentioned is that your LDL cholesterol can be reduced by up to 10 % by exercising, and that your HDL cholesterol can be increased by between 3-6 % by exercising. Consistent, regular, moderate exercising.

    Eggs are a good protein source! I think I'm going to have that toast with avocado topped with an egg for dinner tonight!!
    Thank you for such a great blog!!
    1319 days ago
    Cleaning . . . . . . yessssss . . . . I think it has to be part of what causes high cholesterol! Doesn’t it! I mean, really.

    I think youre recommendations are spot on. I do enjoy my eggs, with the yolks, at most 2 times/week. And yes, genetics has so much to do with your cholesterol levels.

    As for DH doing his own colonoscopy . . . . oh boy. That just might hurt!!!

    1319 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7253330
    I love your blog! I'd already seen the article on MSN and actually did know eggs are really actually good for you, hehe. Of course I picked up that info 'cause I was pregnant and determined to be very very good on my healthy diet ...for 9 months!
    Thanks Again!
    1319 days ago
    Thank you for the information!
    1319 days ago
    Thanks for all this information! My family has a history of heart disease and my dad and my sister died in their early 60s. I will definitely get this test. I appreciate your taking the time to inform all of us......hope everyone reads this!! emoticon emoticon
    1319 days ago
    I recently read that even the sodium thing is being questioned again... You may want to read Dr. Jason Fung's blog (Intensive Dietary Management). He is a nephrologist, and he posts really interesting information.
    1319 days ago
    I am battling high cholesterol, and had major adverse reactions to some of the newer ( high priced) statins. I just had the discussion with my Dr. this week. I thought I was using good information, but was using LDL at less than 129. She informed me that because I am diabetic my LDL should be less than 70... ARGH!!!!

    I am keeping eggs, but when I make an omelet, I am using 1 egg, and then just the white of the other egg. The other yolk is given to my dog- I am amazed at how much improvement there has been in his fur!

    I don't like the eggs in the box, and I am totally committed to eating only things that I can pronounce the ingredients of. I am not exactly organic, but definitely whole food oriented.

    This was good information you presented!!

    1319 days ago
    Thank you! I must really be needy, because I found your tale and the telling fascinating! Have a great and healthy weekend. emoticon emoticon
    1319 days ago
  • SYLBA61
    Did your Dr say if there is anything you can do to lower your lp (a)
    1319 days ago
  • no profile photo MIKOLOLO
    1319 days ago
    Just had a blood draw this morning in prep for appt w my GP. Started on a statin about two years ago after years of watching cholesterol levels. For many years my "good" offset my "bad" but then medical opinion shifted. Will ask if Lipoprotein A was tested or not...

    Thanks for your quirky report... did your Dad really say that to you????
    1319 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    Hmm valuable information on here. I am going to try the trick to make "perfect scrambled eggs". I eat eggs and know that they are great source of protein for me. I will make a point to ask my doctor to run that test you suggested. Thanks for this share today.
    1319 days ago
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